Al Fresco Graduation at Housy

FALLS VILLAGE—Clear skies and balmy temperatures allowed the Housatonic Valley Regional High School graduation ceremony to move outside last Friday. Friends and family of the 99 Housy graduates gathered on the oval in front of the historic central part of the school to applaud the graduates and listen to the commencement addresses.

Among those addresses was one by guest speaker Faith Hochberg, a district court judge in New Jersey and a weekend resident of Salisbury. Judge Hochberg recounted the stories of courageous people such as Harry S. Truman, Mahatma Ghandi and Eleanor Roosevelt who achieved great things because they never let fear stop them.

Salutatorian Amanda Spelbos of Kent urged her fellow graduates to keep on learning while valedictorian Mohamed Elserafy, a native of Saudia Arabia whose family immigrated to the United States about a decade ago, stressed that the graduates should not forget to live in the moment even as they move into the future. He urged them to focus on the “precious present.”

“Everyone is caught up with where we’re going and we forget where we are now,” he said.

The two essayist for the evening brought differing messages to the students. Kimberley Wheeler of Canaan noted that everyone has a story and suggested that if this is kept in mind people might be more tolerant and respectful of others. Mark Rosenbloom of Falls Village, issued an audible sigh of relief when he approached the podium and recounted the fear he had experienced when he came to HVRHS from tiny Lee H. Kellogg. He had graduated in a class of eight and only three of his elementary school classmates transferred to Housatonic with him.

He said he soon learned to appreciate his new school, however and remarked appreciatively, “What other high school hires a five-member mariachi band for Cinco de Mayo or has lunch room ladies dancing in the cafeteria?”

“We all learned the faculty here is special in the best way possible,” he said. “When I started to write this, I swore I would not use clichés, but I have to end with the ultimate cliché and thank the faculty for its never-ending love and support.”